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A fine turnout of revived Rankin dinghies raced in a Cork Harbour mist and drizzle to commemorate the class founders in Saturday's Cobh People's Regatta. 

Fiona O'Connell's Rankin R21 was the overall winner of the 29 boat fleet after two races sailed, scoring a 3 and a 1.

Ewan and David O'Keeffe were second in R5.  Third was Richard Marshall in Rankin R30.

The packed regatta schedule included cruiser racing for the Titanic Trophy on Friday night.

It was followed by the Optimist Spit Bank Challenge plus racing for a fast dinghies fleet and lower handicap dinghies too.

Cruiser Racing involving other harbour clubs will be on Sunday, with the first gun at 1330.

A Rankin is a traditional wooden dinghy that was built in Cobh, of which it’s believed there were 80 and of which The Rankin Dinghy Group has traced nearly half.

The name of the Rankin dinghies is revered in Cork Harbour and particularly in the harbourside town of Cobh.

Maurice Kidney and Conor English are driving the restoration of the Rankin dinghies in Cork Harbour. They have discovered that Rankins were bought and sailed in several parts of the country.

Fiona O'Connell's Rankin R21Fiona O'Connell's Rankin R21was the winner

 Ewan and David O'Keeffe were second in R5Ewan and David O'Keeffe were second in R5

Third was Richard Marshall in Rankin R30Third was Richard Marshall in Rankin R30

Rankin Dinghies Race at Cobh People's Regatta Photo Gallery below

Published in Rankin Dinghy

There is a hectic weekend ahead in Cork Harbour with four events scheduled.

Cobh People's Regatta, the 1720 National Championships, the SB20 Southerns and the National 18's Lowflo Trophy are to be sailed.

Cobh People's Regatta will be held at Cove Sailing Club with racing for cruisers and dinghies. The packed schedule includes a commemorative event for the revived Rankin dinghy fleet on Saturday, for which the First Gun is at 1245.

Cruisers racing for the Titanic Trophy on Friday night are the first regatta event, with First Gun at 7 p.m. The Rankin dinghies will begin the racing on Saturday with their commemorative event for the Rankin Brothers Cup.

This will be followed by the Optimist Spit Bank Challenge starting at 1300 and followed by the Fast Dinghies fleet racing at 1330 and the Lower Handicap Dinghies at 1400. Cruiser Racing involving other harbour clubs will be on Sunday, with First Gun at 1330.

National 18's are racing for the Lowflo Trophy at Royal Cork Yacht ClubNational 18's are racing for the Lowflo Trophy at Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported previously, the 1720 National Championships, organised by the RCYC and the Sportsboat Class Association, start this Friday afternoon with two races. Four are scheduled for Saturday and three on Sunday.

The SB20s, also to be raced out of the Crosshaven club, have three races planned for Saturday and the same number on Sunday.

Colin Galavan and Richard Hayes from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire are sailing their SB20 Carpe Diem in the Southern class Championships at Royal CorkColin Galavan and Richard Hayes from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire are sailing their SB20 Carpe Diem in the Southern class Championships at Royal Cork

Published in Cork Harbour

The Rankin dinghy revival has positively impacted Cove Sailing Club and is a source of satisfaction to those who have made great efforts over the past few years to restore this historic fleet in Cork Harbour.

Two of the stalwarts of that revival are battling at the top of the Club's Wednesday Night Dinghy League – Maurice Kidney and Owen O'Connell.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, Kidney and Conor English were the two men who drove that revival and Afloat was invited back to Whitepoint in 2019 was invited back to Whitepoint in 2019, just outside the town, to witness the latest stage in the remarkable progress of what they started as “a dream”. 

The Rankin is a traditional wooden dinghy which was built in Cobh, of which it’s believed there were 80 and of which The Rankin Dinghy Group has traced nearly half. 

Cove Sailing Club's Wednesday Night Dinghy League Photo: CSC/FacebookCove Sailing Club's Wednesday Night Dinghy League Photo: CSC/Facebook

The league lead has changed hands several times. After seven races, with one discard allowed, the two are locked together at the top on 12 points, a slight advantage resting with Kidney, who has three first placings, while O'Connell has two.

Owen O'Connell's blue hulled Rankin dinghyOwen O'Connell's blue hulled Rankin dinghy

Another Rankin, sailed by Gary Mills, is tied just behind, this time with Jon Keenan's Solo, both on 27 points.

Maurice Kidney at the helm of his RankinMaurice Kidney at the helm of his Rankin Photo: Bob Bateman

Cove Cruiser League

After seven races in the Friday night cruiser league, whitesail ECHO handicap Gary Mills is the leader in his Shipman 28, Tonga, followed by Nick O'Rourke's First 22, Bright Wings and Brian Curtis sailing Déjà Vu third.

Published in Rankin Dinghy
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Sixty-one years after the first Rankin came off a mould in Cobh, a new one has been built from the same mould.

"From the roots of this revered dinghy class in Cork Harbour, a new boat has been built," the Class announced.

This is part of the rebuild and restoration project through which Rankin enthusiasts have rekindled interest in the class.

The roots of the Rankins are to be found in the mid-1950s when Eddie Twomey and Eric Rankin produced the line drawings of the Rankin prototype. The first two prototype boats were built in July 1956 in Eric's workshop on Lynch's Quay, Cobh.

They were an integral part of the RCYC when it was based in Cobh. The boats proved extremely popular. Their light construction made them easy to handle and "effortless to row, motor or sail, so they were an ideal family boat for Cork Harbour conditions," the Rankin enthusiasts say. When the RCYC club moved to Crosshaven, "they became a choice mode of river transport, for commuting ashore long before the days of RIBs and the club marina was built," according to one of the leaders of the revival, Conor English in Crosshaven.

Like other dinghy classes over the years, collective sightings of Rankins sailing in Cork Harbour became a rare sight, but in 2014 a group of like-minded enthusiasts from Crosshaven, Cobh and Monkstown came together to see what could be done to revive interest in the Rankins.

Conor and Maurice Kidney in Cobh drove the revival strongly and garnered strong support. "They are a great boat and the support we've got since we started has been tremendous."

Plank 14 (the Whiskey plank) is fitted to the new RankinPlank 14 (the Whiskey plank) is fitted to the new Rankin dinghy Photo: Rankin Class Association

The result has been a big revival, which we've been following on Afloat and which has led to racing in Cove SC events, participation in the Traditional Sails events in the harbour and the Rankin ''World'' Championships as part of Cork Dinghy Fest in which 21 raced.

Altogether the revival has identified over 40 Rankins.

The new Rankin is a further step, built by Owen O'Connell in the workshop of his brother, Bud and with Dave O'Keeffe, the trio have been working on this 'lockdown' project for the past few months.

On this week's Podcast, Owen O'Connell tells me about the building of the new Rankin and that it is intended to have it on the water in May.

Published in Rankin Dinghy
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A tremendous welcome was extended to the Rankin Dinghy Class by Royal Cork Yacht Club last weekend at its DinghyFest Regatta.

The largest fleet of Rankins ever gathered for the event. 21 boats assembled in the dinghy park, with 20 taking part in the racing.

This turned out to be the biggest participation from any dinghy fleet entered in the event.

RankinA contrast in styles as Rankins sail with other dinghy classes at DinghyFest Photo: Bob Bateman

A sincere thank you to the boat owners who made this such a successful weekend.

A special mention must go to those who for various reasons could not sail their boats and handed them over to other sailors. Tom Dwyer, Ruari Allen, David Doyle, Dominic Losty, the Scott family and Damien Aherne showed this generosity which boosted the numbers and gave others the experience of sailing these lovely boats.

RankinRankin owners and participants

The two days sailing were a joy with beautiful weather and racing conditions.

Saturday racing comprised of three races, sailed on the Curlane bank, at the back of Spike.

The fleet seemed to enjoy the competitive aspect of the racing regardless of their experience or boat condition.

After Saturday's results had been tabulated Conor and Robbie English were in Pole position with Ewan O Keeffe, The Cliodhna, The Helga and a number of others in hot pursuit.

Dave O’Keefe with son EwanDave O’Keefe with son Ewan Photo: Bob Bateman

Sunday's racing involved two races sailed in a beautiful breeze, once it filled in from the west.

A race on the Curlane bank was followed by our last race of the weekend. This comprised of a race around a few cans, with an upriver finish off the Marina at RCYC.

Helga sailing one of the earlier cold moulded RankinsOwen O’Connell and Mike O’Callaghan sailing Helga sailing one of the earlier cold moulded RankinsHelga sailing one of the earlier cold moulded Rankins Photo: Bob Bateman

This was a great bit of racing with Rankins going nip and tuck into a flukey headwind to finish at the clubhouse.

Overall results more or less followed Saturday's form so a huge congratulations to the English brothers who are the official 2019 Rankin World Champions. Their father Joe, who himself had a great love of the Rankin boat, would be very proud.

Ewan O Keeffe, crewed by his dad Dave was a good second with Maurice Kidney, crewed by Stephen Barry given third based on a countback with Daniel O'
Connell sailing the Cliodhna.

P9150728Discussing the finer points of Rankin Build Quality are John Doyle and Owen O’Connell Photo: Bob Bateman

To add to the fun and commitment of the English family, April English, crewing for Mark Bushe on Tom Dwyer's Rankin, both sailed and swam during the
race series. Well done April.

April EnglishApril English keeps a watchful eye out sailing in the Harbour race with Mark Bushe Photo: Bob Bateman

Outside of the official prize-giving, a number of presentations were made within the group.

Sienna Mills got an award for being the youngest participant.

 DSC0459Sienna Mills, the youngest Rankin competitor Photo: Bob Bateman

Elaine Moynihan and Fiona O'Connell sailing KevDec got best placed female crew and the Scott family got an award for the most travelled boat.

James and Fionn Burke were the deserving winner of the 2019 Rankin Spirit award for their unfailing enthusiasm and commitment to Class activities
since it's formation in 2014.

Rankin Spirit AwardJames and Fionn Burke winners of “The Rankin Spirit Award” with Conor English and Maurice Kidney

This award has had past winners in Jonny Wigham, Bud O Connell and Owen O'Connell. They are in distinguished company. Well done to James and Fionn.

All in all a very successful completion of the official class activities for 2019. 

With thanks to Maurice Kidney

Published in Rankin Dinghy

Ardmore is a lovely village on the Waterford coastline, not far from Youghal. It’s a seaside resort and was once a busy fishing village, though that period has largely passed.

The meaning of its name in Irish is ‘Great Height’ and it is believed to be the oldest Christian coastal settlement in Ireland. According to legend, Saint Declan lived around there in the period 350–450 AD and ‘Christianised the area before Saint Patrick arrived in Ireland.

"It may not have the official stamp of ‘World Sailing’ but this ‘world cup’ has something unique – a successful revival of traditional sailing dinghies"

Now it is linked with Cork Harbour in another ‘Great Height’ and the revival of a unique ‘world cup’ of sailing, once held in Ardmore, now to be held out of Crosshaven.

It may not have the official stamp of ‘World Sailing’ but this ‘world cup’ has something unique – a successful revival of traditional sailing dinghies.

Fishermen in Ardmore had asked Eric Rankin in Cobh to build salmon boats for them and that underlined a connection between the area and the man who built the famous Rankin dinghies of Cork Harbour, whose renewal we have been following in Afloat.

Ardmore had its own fleet of Rankins, which were sailed and crewed by notable sailors from Cork when they raced together with local sailors at holiday time in the Waterford coastal village. They even held their own ‘world championships’.

That connection has brought to the Rankins now revived in Cork Harbour the ‘world cup’ from Ardmore, which will be raced for by the Rankin fleet which will be reaching its own ‘Great Height’ next week, September 14 and 15 during the DinghyFest in the harbour. Twenty Rankins are expected, which would be the biggest number to take to the water together since the revival that was orchestrated by Maurice Kidney from Cobh and Conor English in Crosshaven.

They will race out of the Royal Cork at Crosshaven and it should be some sight.

• To get a flavour of this ‘world cup’ for the recovered trophy, listen now to the Podcast where Maurice Kidney describes the Ardmore connection and the well-known names involved in the Rankins who are expected to sail. The first of the Rankins ever built will be racing, as he describes the contenders for the ‘world Rankin title’.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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In recent podcasts I’ve reported on the Cork Harbour T Boats, a Class now extinct apart from the restored original boat, which I highlighted last week here; the successful revival of the Rankins; the restoration underway of the gaff-cutter Lady Min and followed the marvellous restoration of the Ilen, the last Irish trading ketch, now in Greenland's waters.

That was carried out at Liam Hegarty’s boatyard in Oldcourt, Skibbereen, on the River Ilen. It’s not far from there to Baltimore, where that port, a major sailing location these days, was a major builder of fishing boats and Skinner’s yard well-known.

FREE STATE C1 AT HEGARTYS BOATYARD IN OLD COURTFree State C1 at Hegarty's Boatyard in Oldcourt Photo: Tom MacSweeney

Back at Liam Hegarty’s yard, I came across a boat which had been built at Skinner’s and whose connections are historic to the founding of the Irish Republic.

Built in the style of a sailing boat, it became the first-ever boat to be registered as a fishing boat in County Cork, with a name that is outstanding – FREE STATE C1. So named because administrators of the emergent Irish State in 1922 apparently would not register it in Irish! So the family made their point with the unique name.

This is a story that has to be heard in the telling and was told to me by Eoin Ryan, himself a seafarer, whose family owns the boat that was “a super business venture in her time,” as he put it and also the first fishing boat, with sailing boat lines, built with an engine in place.

Listen to the podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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There is satisfaction in being associated with a good news story about sailing, so the latest step in the Rankin dinghy development, which we have followed for four years on the Afloat website is the announcement that the revived, restored and re-energised fleet is to hold “the inaugural Rankin Worlds.”

They will be part of the ‘Cork Dinghy Fest’ in Cork Harbour in September.

The aim of the “Dinghy Fest” is to inject more fun into dinghy sailing, as Organiser Alex Barry told Afloat when plans for its third running were announced, with an on “keeping dinghy sailing classes alive,” by reaching out to all classes to take part and by encouraging young sailors.

"The classic fleet will be part of the ‘Cork Dinghy Fest’ in Cork Harbour in September"

He approached the Rankin Dinghy Class which has responded enthusiastically, “after all it is the dinghy class of the harbour,” Conor English, one of the leaders of the Rankin revival told me, putting emphasis on it being THE Cork Harbour dinghy class, with its historical association with boat-building in Cobh.

Planned in the schedule for the “Dinghy Fest,” are the National 18s National Championships; the Irish Multihull Nationals; the RS 200, 400 and Feva Southerns, the Mirror Southerns and the 29er Southerns. To these the Rankin ‘Worlds’ have been added.

Dinghy sailors have often told me that “friendship” is a key to keeping sailing classes going. That is well represented in the Rankin revival. Up to six of Rankins are racing weekly in Cove Sailing Club events and the Class says there are owners of the boats also in Dungarvan, Ardmore, Kinsale and Baltimore.

There is also a Rankin in Monkstown with the Barry family and Dinghy Fest Organiser, Alex, is an All-Ireland Sailing Champion and a member of both the RCYC and Monkstown Bay SC.

Port and starboard in a Rankin - we were in the right!Port and starboard in a Rankin - we were in the right!

SAILING IN A RANKIN TO CROSSHAVENSailing in a Rankin to Crosshaven

I have sailed a Rankin, from Cobh to Crosshaven (!) as the photos show! After years out of dinghies and finding it easier to board a cruiser (!) it was an interesting experience!

The Rankins will race at the Dinghy Fest gathering on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15. Conor English tells me on my Podcast how the ‘Worlds’ have come about.


Published in Rankin Dinghy

“We’ll keep the tradition going. That’s the idea. We’ll carry on and keep traditional sailing going in Cork Harbour.”

So said Rory Allen who, with his son Gearoid, is the proud new owner of a much-travelled dinghy, the French” boat as it’s being called by the Rankin Class of owners, sailors and enthusiasts about Rankin boats, the revival of which we first reported in this Podcast on Afloat four years ago when interest was reawakened in the Rankin Dinghy, a boat with a great history in Cork Harbour, emanating from Cobh.

RANKIN CLASS SAILORS AT WHITEPOINT jpgRankin class sailors at Whitepoint for the presentation of the two Rankins

Maurice Kidney and Conor English were the two men who drove that revival and Afloat was invited back to Whitepoint, just outside the town, to witness the latest stage in the remarkable progress of what they started as “a dream” as Maurice Kidney said to me.

“We’ll keep the tradition going. That’s the idea. We’ll carry on and keep traditional sailing going in Cork Harbour.”

This occasion was the handing over of two Rankins to their new owners. The “French” boat had been returned to Cork from France by ferry, the other boat had been recovered from Kinsale.

MAURICE KIDNEY RANKIN REVIVALMaurice Kidney one of the men who has led the Rankin revival

The “French” Rankin has also been to Wexford, London and Donegal.

THE RANKIN RECOVERED FROM KINSALEThe Rankin recovered from Kinsale in the foreground and The 'French' boat

“There’s many seamiles clocked up on this one,” said Roddy Cooke, who once owned her. He worked previously with London Port and with BIM and is now at the Maritime College in Cork.

From the start of their revival of the boats built by the Rankin brothers in Cobh, the Class has now got to the stage where 25 Rankins are “available to sail,” said Maurice. “Our effort is to get them all out on the water. We also have a development programme going of converting Rankin punts to sailing.”

RORY ALLEN AND HIS SON GEAROIDConor English (on left of picture) with the owners of The 'French' Boat - Rory Allen and his son Gearoid

“During the past two Winter seasons, Rankin punts have been repaired and converted to sailing, other Rankins have been located by the group,” Conor English said “and they all add to our growing numbers on the water. The aim is fun in sailing, rather than racing, though they can race as well, but a simple, family-friendly itinerary of events is what we plan.”

“This is for my sons too and then onto our grandsons, so we will pass this boat on from generation to generation,” said Johnny Hudson the new owner who was given possession of the Rankin brought back from Kinsale to Cork Harbour at the gathering in Whitepoint. “This is sailing, but also education in the history and the heritage of the harbour which we are really being asked to mind for the future in these boats and we will do that,”

It was a very special occasion, a true example of restoring older boats, recognising that what is old is not necessarily to be forgotten, but can be turned into a sailing attraction for new generations.

To get the atmosphere and flavour of the occasion, listen to my Podcast below, with the voices and the sounds of the Rankins.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Welcome to my new series of MacSweeney Podcasts on Afloat, in which I’ll be reporting on sailing and all to do with the culture, history, tradition and development of maritime Ireland.

These short Podcasts, about five minutes duration, will partner the fortnightly broadcast of my This Island Nation programme also here on Afloat, giving readers and listeners a shorter account of the maritime stories which catch my attention.

This week I’m podcasting dinghies, having sailed in one for the first time in 30 years and I am told why you should consider your automatic, gas-inflated lifejacket, in the same way as you would a parachute... Check it and make sure it is maintained....CH Marine says it is servicing 800 of them a month now, which shows that leisure sailors are concerned about their personal safety, which is the message Irish Water Safety is also conveying.

If, despite care, you get into trouble while swimming, the RNLI surprised me a little when they suggested that you should stop fighting the danger you find yourself in and try floating to safety instead.... When you hear how to do it, that’s good, specific advice to be followed.

The dinghy I sailed in was a Rankin, across Cork Harbour and it was a cracking sail. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s great to see old boats looked after and returned to the water for sailing.

So now... click below and listen to the Podcast.... In about five minutes you’ll benefit from the safety advice and enjoy the dinghy...

Win a Crewsaver Ergofit Pro Lifejacket Worth €205 In This Free To Enter CH Marine/ Competition here

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